Germany and France urge Turkey to release Osman Kavala

Germany and France called on Turkey to adhere to international law and immediately release jailed philanthropist Osman Kavala.

“Turkey's treatment of Osman Kavala and the non-implementation of the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment is not worthy of a state governed by the rule of law or with longstanding membership of the Council of Europe,” France's Human Rights Ambassador Delphine Borione and Germany’s Human Rights Commissioner Barbel Kofler said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

Kavala, a prominent businessman and human rights defender, faces life in prison for seeking to overthrow the constitutional order and a further 20 years if convicted on additional espionage charges.

He was originally arrested in 2017 on charges of attempting to overthrow the government by funding and organising the massive anti-government Gezi Park protests of 2013, which began over the planned destruction of a small urban park in Istanbul.

A lower court acquitted Kavala in February 2020, but he was re-arrested on new charges of espionage before he could be released. In January 2021, the Court of Appeals overturned the acquittal ruling.

The ECHR ruled for Kavala’s release in December 2019, saying his right to liberty and security and his right to a speedy decision on the lawfulness of his detention had both been violated. The Turkish courts have refused to comply, despite Turkey’s constitution requiring them to do so.